12-15-2020 – County sees strong wage growth

Posted on: December 15th, 2020 by admin


December 15, 2020



By Guy Lucas guylucas@newstopicnews.com

Dec 14, 2020 Updated 13 hrs ago


A new state report confirms income growth in Caldwell County that continues to outpace that of neighboring counties.


The average private sector wage — the average annual pay of all non-government full-time jobs — in Caldwell County this year was $41,157, up $1,033 or 2.6% from last year, the N.C. Labor and Economic Analysis Division reported.


Since 2015, the county’s average wage has climbed by $9,148, or 28.9%.


The wage is based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages data from the third quarter of 2019 through the second quarter of 2020.


The highest average wage in the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton metropolitan statistical area continues to be Catawba County’s, but in recent years Caldwell’s wage growth has outpaced Catawba’s.


Catawba’s average 2020 wage was $43,920, up $787 or 1.8% from last year, and up $7,168 or 19.5% since 2015.


Burke’s average 2020 wage was $37,414, up $613 or 1.7% from last year, and up $4,481 or 13.6% since 2015.


Deborah Murray, the executive director of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission, said the numbers confirm the areas of strength in the county’s economy.


“The increase over the last several years is a reflection of the increase in advanced manufacturing in our county as well as the further diversification of companies, including the expansion of biotech/pharma,” she said.


That growth is masked in some measures of the county’s economy, including average household wage, because of many of the new, higher-paying jobs created in recent years have been filled by workers living outside Caldwell County. That is one reason the EDC has been working for several years to lure residential developers, particularly for apartments.


Until recently, no new housing other than custom homes had been built in Caldwell in many years.


But now single-family housing is under construction in the Parkview subdivision of northeastern Lenoir, and a Charlotte developer is renovating the former Blue Bell factory near downtown Lenoir into market-rate apartments.


Murray and other local officials have said they expect the new housing to sell and lease quickly, which could spur other developers to begin new projects.

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